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NewsOvernight Switch from Tetrabenazine to Deutetrabenazine Safe, Trial Shows


JAMA Neurology paper published today from ARC-HD Trial

People with Huntington disease-associated chorea can safely convert overnight from tetrabenazine to deutetrabenazine (brand name: Austedo), according to the results of the Alternatives for Reducing Chorea in Huntington Disease (ARC-HD) trial published yesterday in JAMA Neurology. The Phase III open-label, single-arm switch cohort of the trial was led by the Huntington Study Group (HSG) and the University of Rochester’s Clinical Trials Coordination Center (CTCC) on behalf of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

Although the topline results of the trial have been released previously, the peer-reviewed publication about the switch arm of ARC-HD clinical trial is now published in a premier neurological medical journal.


“This trial provides more good news for our patients who need options for medication to control their chorea,” said Samuel Frank, MD, HSG’s principal investigator of First-HD and director of the HDSA Center of Excellence at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. “We are grateful to the people who volunteered in this trial and their families who supported their participation.”

The ARC-HD trial enrolled 37 patients who were on a stable dose of tetrabenazine for 8 weeks or longer. Participants converted from tetrabenazine to deutetrabenazine at a dose that was half of their original total daily tetrabenazine dose. After one week, investigators began weekly dose adjustments, if needed, to achieve optimal chorea control. This study was focused on safety. In addition, Total Maximal Chorea Score and Total Motor Score were evaluated as efficacy endpoints.

In April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved deutetrabenazine, the second drug approved for use in the United States to treat chorea in HD. The approval was based on positive results from the First-HD study, a Phase 3 clinical trial which was also led by HSG and CTCC on behalf of Teva Pharmaceuticals. In the double-blind, placebo controlled trial, deutetrabenazine significantly decreased chorea. The results were published in JAMA, July 2016.

Deutetrabenazine is structurally related to tetrabenazine with deuterium atoms placed at key positions in the molecule, prolonging plasma half-life and reducing metabolic variability, without changing target pharmacology.

“The deuterium chemistry can provide effective chorea control with fewer daily doses and with lower peak doses, potentially improving medication tolerance. These are both big benefits for our patients,” said Claudia Testa, MD, PhD, HSG’s co-principal investigator for ARC-HD and director of the HDSA Center of Excellence at Virginia Commonwealth University.

“It’s gratifying to see the current progress in treatments for people with Huntington disease. In addition to being grateful to the research participants who are a major driver in that progress, we are grateful to the sites and site staff whose dedication to seeking treatments that make a difference is unparalleled,” Testa added.

Much of the work that led to the completion of the ARC-HD trial was carried out by HSG, a non-profit network of 400 Huntington disease experts from more than 100 medical centers throughout North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and South America who are dedicated to seeking treatments that make a difference for people and families affected by the disease. For more information about the Huntington Study Group, visit www.huntingtonstudygroup.org.

Scientific, technical, logistical, and analytical support for ARC-HD was provided by the University of Rochester Clinical Trials Coordination Center (CTCC). The Clinical Trials Coordination Center is part of the Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics (CHET) and is a unique academic-based organization with decades of experience working with industry, foundations, and governmental researchers in bringing new therapies to market for neurological disorders.  For more information about the Clinical Trials Coordination Center, visit www.ctcc.rochester.edu.

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